written by Kyle and Gigi…

As you may have heard, there is a new coronavirus.  It is largely concentrated in China, but has spread to other countries.  Hong Kong has been affected with around 60 cases reported so far and one death.  The response in Hong Kong has been very strong with the majority of people are wearing masks, avoiding of crowds, and implementing extreme sanitary washing of hands, changing of clothes, and other measures.  The response almost seems excessive, but the memory of SARS remains in many people’s minds.  HK was the epicenter of SARS, which shut the city down for several months.  Although the number of infected people is low in HK, people are scared of going through a SARS-like experience.

The coronavirus has a scary aspect to it, but, for perspective, flu kills up to 650,000 people a year worldwide. An issue that causes fear is that the novel coronavirus is unknown and has the possibility of being much worse than the flu especially given the potentially 14 day incubation period.  It is hard to know how drastic of action to take given how little we know.  The HK government has exacerbated the fear by not doing much to address the issue and making statements that make people more fearful.  For example, “Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam admits government supply of surgical masks down to its last month but says 48 million more are on the way“.  Note that there are over 7 million people in the city, so the “replenishment” would not even last a week.  It did not reassure people, which led to people stocking up and making the fear worse.  See this article for a summary of the panic.

For our family, the biggest impact is school closure for (at least) 1.5 months.  Naomi’s school quickly switched to entirely online materials now, so we are essentially homeschooling her with guidance from her teachers… and homeschooling is hard!  Naomi misses her friends greatly. Kyle’s school (PolyU) is also online and most in-person meetings are cancelled. Most gatherings and activities have been cancelled and people are worried about large groups, so kids don’t get out much.

Given our small apartment and an active toddler, this makes daily life difficult.  It really hasn’t been easy, but we are thankful for the nearby park which the city workers diligently sanitize everyday, and for our nanny who constantly cooks for us so that we don’t have to “take off our masks when eating out”.  Naomi has also been an inspiration to the grown ups with her content and joyful spirit, and how she fills her free time with edifying books and music (as opposed to overdosing in unhealthy amount of news and social media articles…). Yesterday, we weren’t able to attend church so she suggested that we have a family worship time. During which, we sang along to this beautiful song: